“Here is an irony that shows the power of God. We have taken the problem – whatever it was we were powerless over, whatever was destroying our self-worth, destroying our lives, giving us guilt and fear and shame, and making us feel like a zero – and finally become willing to let go of it.”
Joe McQ, The Steps We Took
I hold to many things I am powerless over. They destroy my self-worth. They destroy my personal and professional life. They give me guilt, fear and shame. They make me feel like a zero, a nothing. And through the power of God, I become willing to let go of these things that hurt me so.
What are these things? Anger, lust, pornography, the need for approval, fear, and selfishness, to name a few. When I list them like this it’s easy to see how they destroy my self-worth and my life, and cause me to feel guilt and shame. Why is it, then, than in the moment when lust strikes I can’t win a simple argument in my own mind? How do I come to believe that the thing I identify so easily on paper as self-destructive could actually be beneficial?
Whose voice is in my head telling me, “It will be OK, just take a quick look?” I know that’s not true; one ‘quick look’ will turn into a lustful stare, which will develop into a full-blown crusade to fill the emptiness inside me with pornography. Yet despite this knowledge stored in my frontal lobe, the primitive part of my brain refuses to listen.
It’s like arguing with a toddler:
“Daddy, what’s that?”
“It’s a cookie, son.”
“No son, it’s almost dinner time, you can have a cookie after dinner.”
“Son, please don’t shout at me. I told you, no cookie before dinner, but you may have one after dinner.”
“COOKIE!!! COOKIE, COOKIE, COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKIE!!!!!”
“Son, stop shouting. If you eat the cookie now, on an empty stomach, you might feel sick and you probably won’t eat any dinner. If you don’t eat your dinner, you won’t have any energy to play or grow. You want to grow up to be a big boy like daddy, don’t you?”
Somehow God is able to overcome the toddler in me. Somehow He helps me let go of the thing I’m killing myself with. I don’t know why I need God to do this for me; maybe other people don’t. But there is something inside that makes me love and hate myself at the same time, and that ‘something’ drives me to self-destruction more often than I care to admit.
I want that damn cookie, even if it kills me.